KKR vs RCB game plan

IPL 2021: Shubman Gill a potential captaincy replacement if Eoin Morgan is unavailable, hints Brendon McCullum


Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum has backed Shubman Gill among the “Indian boys” who will be ready to step up if his team misses some of the prominent overseas names for the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

McCullum hinted Gill is one of the potential captaincy replacements for Eoin Morgan if the first-choice KKR skipper is unavailable for the remainder of the IPL 2021 in the Middle East.

If appointed at the helm, it would be a huge vote of confidence on Shubman Gill, who has struggled with the bat for KKR since the start of the last year’s IPL in UAE.

Gill made only 132 runs from his seven innings at a strike-rate of only 117.85 before the IPL 2021 was brought to a halt in early May, but would have the opportunity to turn it all around for himself in the UAE, inspired by an unexpected appointment at the captaincy post.

McCullum realises it would be extremely difficult for KKR to manage things if their first-choice overseas picks aren’t available. However, the head coach is also backing the young guns such as Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana to take the side forward with them.

Also Read: IPL 2021 To Resume In UAE; BCCI Finalises September-October Window For Rest Of The Tournament

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill could be appointed KKR captain for rest of IPL 2021

Shubman Gill a potential captaincy replacement if Morgan is unavailable, hints McCullum

“That might be some of the Indian boys and they might not be ready for such kind of responsibility just yet. That brings an opportunity, that gives a chance to someone like Shubman Gill or Nitish Rana to play beyond their years and grab the opportunity and drag the young Indian boys along,” McCullum told Sports Today. “I am excited about what lies ahead and it’s not going to be easy.”

Ever since BCCI has announced that the remaining portion of the IPL 2021 will be played in UAE in September-October, a major point of focus has been the potential unavailability of foreign stars, who have international assignments coinciding with the new window.

With England having confirmed they won’t again rejig their own calendar and send their players back for IPL, Morgan most probably won’t be available as skipper and player in UAE and thus open the door for Shubman Gill’s likely appointment.

Not just Morgan, KKR could also be missing their spearhead Pat Cummins who, if reports are to be believed, wouldn’t take part when the IPL resumes.

McCullum admitted it would be “disappointing” not to have such big names available, especially when KKR have a lot of ground to recover after struggling through the Indian leg.

“If we are to lose some of those guys because that would be really disappointing. Structurally we had set it up to rely on those people,” McCullum said. “Some of those personalities, which we had picked, I knew if we were under pressure, they would still be ready for the long haul and still remain very calm during those key times.”

“I think of Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan, really calm and cool customers. If we were to lose them, then we have to find guys to step up into those roles, that’s exciting and a good opportunity for some other guys.”

KKR had lost five of their seven fixtures and were languishing in the bottom half of the points table when IPL 2021 was suspended on May 4 due to a surge of COVID-19 positive cases inside different teams’ bubbles, including two in KKR’s camp.

A cricket writer by heart and profession. Currently at work for CricXtasy. Previously with Circle of Cricket. You can find him on Twitter @crickashish217